A study in 2016 from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found that approximately 40,000 premature deaths were caused by ambient air pollution. Air pollution has also caused over 6 million sick days in the UK. The exposure to the pollutants in the air are linked to causing a variety of health problems such as cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease and can even cause problems such as diabetes and dementia.

It is not only external air pollution that is causing problems, poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) inside homes and workplaces can be between two and five times worse than outdoor air. After certain activities, such as painting or removing floors, the air in your home can be up to 1,000 times worse than the air outside. This is due to the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), found in paint, adhesives and many everyday objects found in the home. Exposure to this poor indoor air quality can cause the effects of asthma, particularly in children. Over time, this exposure can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

In a recent research, it was suggested that chemical products in household items refined from petroleum, contained as much VOCs as fumes from vehicle exhaust pipes. Volatile organic compounds are an important contributor to air pollution, when they are exposed to outside air and enter the atmosphere, they can react with other chemicals to produce harmful ozone. Therefore, many environmental protection agencies regulate VOCs in outdoor conditions mainly due to their ability to create photochemical smog under certain conditions.

Our homes today have become increasingly airtight and energy efficient. Building Regulations have helped to ensure that new build homes are reaching new standards of efficiency while also reducing air leakage. Meanwhile, due to a combination of government incentives and regulations, almost half of UK homes have received energy efficient upgrades. These energy efficient upgrades include improving insulation in homes, but due to increased insulation there is a larger need for ventilation in homes so that indoor air quality is not negatively affected.

Homes that are becoming more airtight increases the need for ventilation so to maintain good air quality. Poor ventilation in a home can cause the air quality to deteriorate causing problems that should not be ignored. These problems can include condensation, mould and a build-up of toxic chemicals.

There is increasing awareness around the issue of indoor air quality. Home owners want their homes to be as clean and healthy as possible. A recent survey for indoor air pollution by the My Health My Home campaign found that a massive 70% of participants agreed that IAQ was just as important as outdoor air quality. Indoor air quality knowledge is growing and as is the need and understanding of Heating Ventilation & Air Condition (HVAC) systems.

The UK government is currently working with local and national governments to try and improve air quality as well as reduce nitrogen dioxide levels. They are doing so by trying to control emissions of harmful pollutants, especially focusing on tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Air pollution is now so serious in London that every borough individually exceeds the WHO PM2.5 guidelines. Air quality is now being entrenched in new planning requirements. The government has already taken significant action to improve air quality.

In July 2017, the government published its National Air Quality Plan, with local authorities in England being required to draw up plans to improve air quality. This has been followed up with the autumn budget announcement of reforms to improve air quality in the UK. To aid in this plan, there has been a new Clean Air Fund of £220m. This is financed by changes to company car tax and to vehicle excise for those buying new diesel cars.  It has been especially important for the ventilation business sector as they have been working to improve and develop new ranges of solutions to improve indoor air quality for households across the UK.

However, the fact is that poor IAQ poses such a serious health issue in Britain today. Around 92% of UK citizens spend all their time indoors, with the average person spending just 8% of their time outside on a week day. Due to this amount of time we spend indoors in increasingly airtight homes, IAQ should be recognised as a public health issue that is in need for far greater government action. Following the focus on outdoor air pollution, it is important to now start focusing on indoor air quality.

There are many solutions that can help improve indoor air quality in the home and make sure that your home is healthy. BPC recommend using MVHR systems as the best option for extracting and supplying air in and out of your home.

Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery is an energy recovery ventilation system that supplies and extracts air in and out of your home. It extracts and removes stale and moist air and supplies fresh filtered air into your home. MVHR systems are the perfect ventilation solution in homes and workplaces, this is especially important as buildings are becoming more air tight and there is more need to ventilate properties as airtight homes do not get ventilated naturally.

Other ventilation options include MEV units and PIV units. Mechanical Extraction Ventilation systems provide continuous ventilation in your home. They work by extracting moisture laden air from multiple wet rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, shower rooms, utilities and toilets. MEV units eliminate condensation and dampness helping to improve your indoor air quality with low running costs and easy maintenance! Positive Input Ventilation Units help eliminate and prevent condensation, damp and mould in your home. All our ventilation systems are perfect solution to create a fresh and healthy living environment by supplying fresh filtered air into your home and improve your indoor air quality!

Contact our sales and technical team on 028 2827 5150 for more information on ventilating your home or check out our Knowledge Centre for further information!